25 Most Polluted Cities in the World (2020 Rankings)

Manama Bahrain Air Pollution One of Worst in World

Air pollution is one of the leading causes of death around the world.  Therefore  you may be curious: “What are the most polluted cities in the world?”  Smart Air analyzed 2020 air pollution data from 540 major cities in the world to create the 2020 ranking of the “25 Most Polluted Cities in the World”.

 

Rankings: 25 Most Polluted Cities in the World

1. Ghaziabad, India ghaziabad air pollution, worst air quality in world

2. Lahore, Pakistan

Lahore Air Pollution Second Worst in World

3. Delhi, India

Lahore Air Pollution One of Worst in World

4. Lucknow, India

Lucknow Air Pollution Second Worst in World

5. Muzaffarnagar, India

Muzaffarnagar India one of most polluted cities in world

6. Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dhaka Bangladesh one of most polluted cities in world

7. Antakya, Turkey

Antakya Turkey one of most polluted cities in world

8. Hapur, India

Hapur India one of most polluted cities in world

9. Peshawar, Pakistan

Peshawar Pakistan Air Pollution One of Worst in World

10. Kampala, Uganda

Kampala Uganda Air Pollution One of Worst in World

11. Anyang, China

Anyang China Air Pollution One of Worst in World

12. Patna, India

Patna India Air Pollution One of Worst in World

13. Shijiazhuang, China

Shijiazhuang China Air Pollution One of Worst in World

14. Xuchang, China

15. Xinxiang, China

Xinxiang China Air Pollution One of Worst in World

16. Bamako, Mali

Bamako Mali Air Pollution One of Worst in World

17. Zhengzhou, China

Zhengzhou China Air Pollution One of Worst in World

18. Manama, Bahrain

Manama Bahrain Air Pollution One of Worst in World

19. Taiyuan, China

20. Chandigarh, India

Chandigarh, India Air Pollution one of Worst in World

21. Xian, China

Xian China Air Pollution One of Worst in World

22. Tianjin, China

Tianjin China Air Pollution One of Worst in World

23. Kabul, Afghanistan

Kabul Afghanistan Air Pollution One of Worst in World

24. Jinan, China

Jinan China Air Pollution One of Worst in World

25. Dushanbe, Tajikstan

Dushanbe, Tajikistan Air Pollution One of Worst in World

 

Analysis

Of the 25 most polluted cities in the world, 9 were located in China, while 7 were located in India.  All of the ranked cities had average air quality many times above the WHO recommended healthy limit.  Many of the cities with the worst air quality are located in similar geographical areas on the globe.  Below is a pollution heat map from the WHO.  WHO research shows that over 92% of people in the world are breathing unsafe air with high air pollution levels.

 

Global Air Pollution Map
Image: WHO

How Air Pollution Was Measured to Find Most Polluted Cities in World

There are various pollutants (both particles and gases) that can be found in the air.  One of the most commonly tracked pollutants are very small, fine particles called PM2.5.

These small pollutants are under 2.5 micrograms in width and considered to be one of the more dangerous pollutants due to their ability to enter deep into the lungs and bloodstream.  The above rankings of the most polluted cities in the world were ranked based on their 2020 average PM2.5 pollution levels.    

Open Data

As part of Smart Air’s open data pledge, the raw  PM2.5  AQI 2020 world pollution data used for the rankings of the world’s most polluted cities are openly available to download from the link below:

Download 2020 World Major Cities Air Quality Rankings

How I Protect Myself

Smart Air is a  certified B Corp  committed to combating the myths big companies use to inflate the price of clean air.

Smart Air provides empirically backed, no-nonsense purifiers and masks, that remove the same particles as the big companies for a fraction of the cost. Only corporations benefit when clean air is a luxury.

For protection against air pollution in Jakarta and Indonesia, check out the Sqair!

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